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Low v. Reick

Low v. Reick, 2016 MT 167 (July 12, 2016) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in holding that Reicks’ lot is encumbered by a single easement, the existing road, measured 10 feet from each side of the road’s centerline; (2) whether the district court erred by holding Low lacked authority to sign an application for a permit to improve Reicks’ lakeshore property; (3) whether the district court erred by concluding the maintenance agreement is unenforceable against Reicks for lack of consideration; (4) whether the district court erred in holding that Reicks did not breach the maintenance agreement; (5) whether the district court erred by concluding Low breached the road detour agreement, and awarding damages to Reicks; (6) whether the district court erred by concluding Reicks did not convert Low’s fill material; and (7) whether the district court erred in ordering Low to pay Reicks’ attorney’s fees and costs arising from their counterclaim.…

Global Client Solutions, LLC v. Ossello

Global Client Solutions, LLC v. Ossello, 2016 MT 50 (March 2, 2016) (McGrath C.J.; Wheat, J., concurring; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (5-2, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in reserving to itself the determination of arbitrability; and (2) whether the district court erred in determining that the arbitration provision was unconscionable and therefore not enforceable.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.

Denial of motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration affirmed

Facts: Ossello had more than $40,000 in unsecured debt in 2012 when she received an unsolicited mailing from World Law, advertising that it could provide debt relief services. Ossello called and spoke to a sale agent. Ossello and the agent reviewed several form agreements, which Ossello electronically signed, including a Client Services Agreement with World Law and a Dedicated Account Agreement (DAA) with Global Client Solutions.…

Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Keller Transport, Inc.

Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Keller Transport, Inc., 2016 MT 6 (Jan. 12, 2016) (Rice, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (6-1, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in determining Westchester’s excess policy provided an additional $4 million in coverage under the “general aggregate” limit; and (2) whether the district court erred in holding Westchester breached its duty to defend.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) yes.

Affirmed and reversed

Newlon v. Teck American, Inc.

Newlon v. Teck American, Inc., 2015 MT 317 (Nov. 10, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Teck and Newlon formed an enforceable contract; and (2) if so, whether Teck can assert the 60-month rule under § 39-71-704(1)(d) to avoid having to pay Newlon’s benefits.

Short Answer: (1) Yes; and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: Newlon worked for Teck as a miner from 1972 until the mine closed in 1993. Newlon was injured in several incidents over the years, including at least three separate injuries involving his left knee. Newlon had surgery on the knee in 1993 and 1996, but his symptoms and problems persisted.

Teck’s assistant manager, Moore, approached Newlon in 1996 about settling all of Newlon’s work comp claims.…

Masters Group Internat’l, Inc. v. Comerica Bank

Masters Group Internat’l, Inc. v. Comerica Bank, 2015 MT 192 (July 1, 2015) (Baker, J. wrote an opinion in which Shea, J., joined; Shea, J. concurred; Rice, J., concurred and dissented and was joined by McKinnon, J.; Cotter, J., concurred and dissented, and was joined by McGrath, C.J., and Wheat, J.) (aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in denying Comerica’s motion to sever; (2) whether the district court erred in applying Montana law despite the contractual choice-of-law provision; (3) whether the district court erred in not deciding contract formation issues as a matter of law; (4) whether the district court erred by allowing TARP evidence to be presented to the jury.

Short Answer: (1) No (Baker, Shea, Cotter, McGrath, Wheat); (2) yes (Baker, Shea, Cotter, McGrath, Wheat); (3) no (5-Baker, Shea, Cotter, McGrath, Wheat- to 2-Rice, McKinnon); (4) yes (7-0 agree admission was error, but 4 (Baker, Shea, Rice.…

Montana Health Network, Inc. v. Great Falls Orthopedic Associates

Montana Health Network, Inc. v. Great Falls Orthopedic Associates, 2015 MT 186 (June 30, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the Plan was ambiguous and therefore was properly interpreted against the drafter, MHN; and (2) whether GFOA is entitled to attorneys’ fees on appeal.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) yes.

Summary judgment for GFOA affirmed

Facts: Montana Health Network (MHN) was the sole drafter of a health plan and trust (the Plan), of which it was also the sponsor and trustee. Great Falls Orthopedic Associates (GFOA) and MHN executed an agreement under which GFOA adopted the Plan for purposes of obtaining coverage for its employees. MHN drafted the agreement, which by its terms incorporated the Plan.

The initial term was three years, with automatic two-year renewals.…

Bottrell Family Investments Ltd. Partnership v. Diversified Financial, Inc.

Bottrell Family Investments Ltd. Partnership v. Diversified Financial, Inc., 2015 MT 185 (June 30, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the election of remedies doctrine bars Bottrell’s claim for damages; and (2) whether Bottrell’s action is barred by laches.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.

Reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in Bottrell’s favor and a determination of damages

Facts: In 2006, Defendants were developing software programs for auto dealerships. They entered into an operating agreement with Bottrell to form an LLC that would own and operate the two programs. Bottrell owned 50% of the company and the remaining 50% was split among the Defendants. The agreement had a doomsday clause under which a partner could tell another partner that within 90 days it must elect to sell its interests or buy the invoking partner’s interest for a specified price.…

Allstate Insurance Co. v. Posnien, Inc.

Allstate Insurance Co. v. Posnien, Inc., 2015 MT 162 (June 16, 2015) (Rice, J.) (7-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in determining that Posnien retained no security interest in the Allstate book of business sold to Baird 7 pursuant to the terms of Allstate’s contract documents.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Fay Posnien was an exclusive agent for Allstate. In 2006, Fay decided to sell the agency and retire. Allstate placed an ad on its website listing the agency for sale, and Mary Baird, incorporated at Baird 7, offered to buy the agency from Posnien for $450,000.

Posnien was required to obtain Allstate’s approval of Baird 7 as the buyer. Allstate’s Montana field manager met with Baird, shared the agency’s revenue and expense history, reviewed her business plan, tax returns and other financial documents, and conducted personal interviews with her.…